Written by Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Over the last ten years we haven’t really seen a lot of new game ideas. Most publishers don’t really take that leap of faith anymore, and are more likely to copy a proven concept rather than innovate. Thus over the years we have seen a lot of games directly copying each other in one way or another. While this isn’t really a bad thing because competition between online games keep them alive, it does make me wonder what else we could’ve been enjoying if publishers weren’t so afraid of taking a risk. Ghostly Horizon is a game that takes a ton of elements from different games, but knits it together into something special. After playing this simple yet very elegant game, I was sold.
Ghostly Horizon is a 3rd person ‘spell-caster’ shooter that takes place on spherical worlds. While this doesn’t really sound that innovative, let me tell you how much fun I had with battling pickles. Since the world you play on is spherical, you can walk around it in any direction you wish to do, and this really adds another element to this shooter. The game is still in early access, and I got to play it before official launch so the online mode wasn’t very active yet. Even though there were some people that play here and there, I found out that playing the AI was almost just as fun as any other player.
Shooters these days are simple. Most of the time all interesting elements are thrown out of the window, and gameplay simply comes down to point and clicking and there ya go, you’re shooting around in the wild west. Ghostly Horizon takes another shot at this, and even though it’s nothing new, unfortunately we do not see it in games enough. Since your character and enemy characters are spell casters, you will shoot projectiles instead of instantly hitting lead. Fire, earth, air, acid, lightning, void, and ice can be combined for powerful attacks. Since each element comes with two special attacks, and your character or, as I see it, your pickle, comes with four default spells too, the gameplay becomes chaotic but very enjoyable.
Currently there are three game modes: Invasion, Arena and Survival. The latter is where I found most of the fun. Survival is a game mode where you simply have one job: surviving. This can be done by killing every pickle that runs at you, firing his own type of element in your direction. The longer the game goes on, the stronger the enemy pickles get and the more numbers you will be swarmed by. Even though there is already a difficulty slider for this, just keeping this on normal was found to be a tough challenge already. Because the gameplay in itself is very simple but still with a bit of room for skill, it’s a very enjoyable experience fighting yourself through hordes of pickle ricks just trying to safely return home at the end of the day.
Invasion is a game mode where you fight hordes of pickles and trying to close the portals they spew from in a quick enough time. Arena is where you face pickles in a one versus one format or more in just a small playing field. There are also two other online game modes that you can play, a Battle Royale mode I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to test, but we all know what that is don’t we. There is also a conquest mode, where the mission is to capture objectives like big and smaller crystals together with your team to win the game.
As Ghostly Horizon has a very low poly look to it, it isn’t the best looker. The interface could also use some work, but since the game is still in early access I am sure more work will be put into both of these things. I do like the style of this game, keeping it very simple and allowing it to run on almost every computer. While the style is simple and low resolution, it doesn’t really mean the game is bad looking either. While walking on the planet, the sky lights up depending on what side of the planet you are compared to light objects, and even rocks floating in-front of these light sources portray a huge shadow on the planets giving you this very intense scenery at times. Despite its low poly count there has definitely been attention to the detail of how to make this game look good.
Conclusion: Great (4/5)
While it isn’t stunning looking, the gameplay definitely makes up for it and turns into a blast of a game.
Ghostly Horizon is a very simple, straight-forward game. You can jump right in, and once you’ve figured out the control scheme that looks harder than it actually is, you will be in for a lot of fun. Ghostly Horizon isn’t the next Call of Duty, but that is not what it is trying to be either. The game has a very simple look and feel to it, but it is an incredibly fun game and concept. Since launch is coming soon I cannot wait to play more together and against other players, but so far I have had an absolute blast playing against the computer, who you cannot take all too lightly either. They will and absolutely can totally mess up your pickle. In the survival mode especially, I have had a ton of fun encounters where I had no clue how I would get out of the situation. Ghostly Horizon is a very addictive game that I hope to see more of in the future, and while it isn’t your typical generic shooter or game idea, I am absolutely pleased to see what they have shaped their game into, and it makes me think of what it could’ve been when a publisher would’ve just had this great idae. I’m glad we are now living in an era of independent developers, showing the rest of the world that great ideas can still be born.